For years, malware has been an issue for computers. While there are different levels of severity, it is extremely dangerous when targeting your smartphone.
Apple’s closed ecosystem is incredibly protective. It has few checks and balances. As a result, it’s very difficult for hackers to infiltrate Apple products and leave malware behind. Unfortunately, Android is the opposite. Its open nature makes it easy for hackers to infiltrate, leaving Android users vulnerable to malicious code.
A new version of a virus has been discovered. Read on to find out how a Brazillian malware became a powerful threat.
Here’s the back story
A Remote Access Trojan (RAT) known as BRATA has been around since 2019. At the time, it was used as spyware and exclusively targeted Android users in Brazil. It was able to capture a victim’s screen in real-time.
In early 2016, a malware called BRATA spread online. It masqueraded as a WhatsApp update on the Google Play Store. It was downloaded by over 10,000 users a day. The infection disappeared for almost three years, but it has now returned. It is still a spying tool, but it can also steal banking details and wipe your phone now.
When users download an app to their Android device, it’s not malware. However, the app has permissions. As soon as it installs, it becomes malicious. This happens because the app is not directly infected, but the app does ask for permission and then installs malware on the device.
It’s a new era in cybercrime. Rather than stealing your credit card information, criminals can use malware to steal your banking login credentials and send them to the hackers. As soon as you open a banking app, the malware sends your login details to cybercriminals.
How to keep yourself safe
BRATA 2.0 is capable of wiping your device remotely. That means that if your banking credentials are stolen, the criminals can wipe your phone before you realize it. This feature is a killswitch. It’s a security measure in case something goes wrong. A killswitch means that if you get hacked, the bad guys can’t access your information and you can erase all the evidence.
Here is some information on how to stay safe:
- BRATA spreads through text messages too. Never click a link in an unsolicited text message.
Before downloading a program, make sure it’s safe by checking for positive reviews and that it comes from the official Google Play Store.
Don’t download applications from a third-party app store. They don’t have the same vetting rules as the official app store, so you could end up with malware on your device.
- Have antivirus software on all of your devices. I feel that one of the best is BitDefender.